One cannot dispute the fact that any new wooden floor in a home really changes the place for the better. This is true whether the floor is laminated flooring or hardwood flooring. Laminated flooring has a number of clear-cut advantages over other types of flooring. Let’s look at a few of these:
- It looks good
- It lasts a long time
- It wears well
- It is easy to install
Arguably hardwood flooring is regarded by many as being the better quality floor – after all, it is the real thing. But if you are looking for a floor that is going to remain looking good for years, that is scratch resistant and needs little maintenance, then a laminate floor has to be the number one choice.
Laminated flooring, as the name suggests, is made up of several layers. These layers may differ slightly from one brand to another, but the general principle runs through the whole range. The topmost layer, known as the wear layer, is made from a cellulose paper, heavily impregnated with melamine plastic resin, and often finished with a coating of aluminium oxide. The manufacturing process involves high temperature and pressure, and the resulting layer is extremely hard and resistant to staining, fading and moisture.
Beneath this transparent top layer is the design layer, which is literally a photograph of the appropriate timber chosen for its appeal. The photograph is printed on cellulose paper and also impregnated with resin. The third layer, which is known in the trade as the core, is typically a very high density fibreboard impregnated with a water repellent, the latter to prevent the intake of moisture that could cause the board to swell.
The final layer of laminate flooring is usually of similar composition to the upper wear layer, and serves as a stabilizer. When all of these layers are bonded together the result is a stable, strong and elegant laminated floor-board. For insulation purposes this final layer may have a sheet of foam rubber or cork, bonded to its lower surface. Depending on the brand, laminated floors are manufactured in thicknesses ranging from 6mm to 12mm. The thicker boards are more stable and less likely lose their shape.